The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is a teacher trade union representing over 80% of all teachers across nursery, primary and secondary education in Scotland.
They launched the Stand Up for Quality Education (SU4QE) campaign at their AGM in June 2023.
The campaign has 3 key priority areas which call for:
- Build the skills, resources and school culture to address distressed, violent and aggressive pupil behaviour
- An increase in funding and support for pupils with additional support needs
- A significant reduction in teacher workload
The focus in the initial months of the campaign is to explore and tackle instances of violence and aggression in schools.
The EIS uses the Health and Safety Executive definition which defines ‘violence and aggression’ as; “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.”
This definition includes verbal abuse or threats!
In recent years, schools in Scotland and schools across the UK have grappled with a concerning rise in violence and aggression within their educational settings, notably incidents directed towards teachers.
Notably the survey identified that:
- 82% of branches responding that there are incidents of ‘violence and aggression’ every week.
- Over 72% of branches stated that the amount of ‘violence and aggression’ had grown in the last four years – from levels before the Covid pandemic.
- Almost 40% of branches stated that prejudice -based violence had increased over the same period.
- In Primary and Special Education, “physical violence towards a teacher” was the most common type of ‘violence and aggression’.
- In secondary schools, “intimidatory, obscene or derogatory verbal comments towards a teacher” was the most common form of ‘violence and aggression’.
Addressing these issues demands a multi-faceted approach that prioritises not only immediate safety measures but also comprehensive support systems and training programmes.
The EIS survey underscores the urgency of the matter, highlighting incidents that range from verbal abuse to physical attacks on teachers.
These occurrences not only jeopardise the safety of educators but also compromise the well-being and learning experiences of students.
Structured post-incident reviews and individual welfare support plans, for teachers and students are crucial components towards mitigating the aftermath of such incidents.
These mechanisms not only aid in understanding the root causes leading to what may trigger such behaviours but they also facilitate healing and recovery for both teachers and students affected.
However, the solution does not lie in reactive measures to challenging, aggressive and violent behaviours but in a proactive, preventative approach.
An integral part of this strategy involves a robust training programme designed to enhance the safety of both teachers and pupils.
Such a programmes should encompass various facets, including but not limited to:
- Preventative Measures: Educating teachers on pre-emptive strategies to identify and defuse potentially volatile situations before they escalate.
- Communication Skills: Equipping educators with effective communication techniques to engage with students in challenging circumstances, fostering a more positive and constructive dialogue.
- Physical Intervention in Accordance with Laws: Ensuring that any physical intervention adheres to UK laws and the Education Act of 1984, emphasising the use of physical intervention only when necessary and as a last resort.
While local authorities or outside agencies may attempt to enforce strict protocols, there remains a critical need for discretion on the part of schools, teachers and support staff.
Prescriptive measures often lack the understanding and nuanced skills required to effectively navigate the complexities of aggressive or violent behaviours.
Empowering teachers with the autonomy, within a framework of supportive policies, to exercise judgment while backed by comprehensive training is essential if the handling of diverse scenarios in a school setting are to be managed effectively.
Restorative justice and mediation principles hold promise in resolving conflicts within educational settings but they must be entered into objectively.
However, their success hinges on mediation that ensures fairness, accountability, and reconciliation.
Implementing restorative practices demands careful facilitation to ensure a balanced and constructive resolution for all involved parties.
Addressing violence and aggression in school settings demands an holistic approach.
The encompassing of immediate support policies, risk analysis reviews and comprehensive training programmes will improve the nuanced understanding of the intricate dynamics across different school settings.
By prioritising the safety and well-being of both teachers and students, schools can foster a learning environment conducive to growth, respect, and mutual understanding.
How can we help you?
This BTEC Level 3 Award in The Delivery of Conflict Management Training is a Nationally Recognised Qualification issued by an Awarding Organisation (Pearson’s) which is Regulated by Ofqual.
The course comprises two Units can be seen below:
Unit 1: Managing Conflict in Workplace settings.
This unit is intended for people who need a knowledge of conflict management when dealing with conflict.
The unit covers how to avoid and manage conflict situations.
It is applicable in a range of roles where there is direct contact with customers, service users and the general public.
The unit includes how communication skills can be used both to avoid conflict and to resolve problems once conflict has been defused.
It then considers the factors that influence human responses in a conflict situation, for example, triggers and inhibitors, and moves on to ways in which to assess and reduce risks in conflict situations.
The unit also covers how communication skills can be used to de-escalate conflict and post-incident issues, such as support and the importance of sharing good practice.
To pass this unit, the evidence that you present for assessment needs to demonstrate that you can meet all the learning outcomes for the unit.
On completion of this unit, you will:
- Know how communication can be used to solve problems and reduce the likelihood of conflict.
- Know the factors that influence human responses in conflict situations.
- Know how to assess and reduce risks in conflict situations.
- Know how to communicate effectively and de-escalate conflict in emotive situations.
- Know good practice to follow after conflict situations.
Unit 2: Delivering Scenario-Based Conflict Management Training
This unit is intended for people who will be delivering scenario-based training in conflict management.
This unit teaches trainee-tutors to apply their knowledge of conflict management to allow them to teach it effectively in a scenario-based approach.
You will learn about the principles and benefits of scenario-based conflict management training and about how to plan and design effective session plans and scenarios.
You will then have learnt how to deliver an effective a training session, including debriefing participants afterwards.
Finally, trainee-tutors will learn about different methods of evaluating effectiveness.
You will have the opportunity to put all of this into practice, being assessed on your ability to design and deliver a session plan and effective scenario.
To pass this unit, the evidence you present for assessment needs to demonstrate that you can meet all the learning outcomes for the unit.
On completion of this unit, you will:
- Understand the principles of scenario-based conflict management training.
- Be able to plan and design scenario- based conflict management training.
- Be able to deliver scenario-based conflict management training.
- Know how to evaluate your own performance.
All Materials Pre-Prepared for You!
If you choose the BTEC Level 3 Conflict Management Award you will be given all the resources required to complete the work required for Unit 1 and part of Unit 2 by distance learning.
The documentation for all the learning requirements above has been already produced for you, including resource material and links to appropriate web-resources.
Teaching Practice and Micro-Teaching
You will be involved in at least one 30-minute micro-teaching session, which will be observed and assessed by a member of the delivery team as well as the learners.
Contact us for help, support or guidance – https://nfps.info/contact-nfps/
EIS Violence and Aggression Survey Report – https://www.eis.org.uk/pupil-behaviour/surveyresults